With two such excellent foods to choose from, families can’t go wrong by selecting either Nutro Wholesome Essentials or Blue Buffalo Wilderness for their adult dogs. Nutro Wholesome Essentials is a grain-inclusive formulation, making it best suited to dogs that do not suffer from allergies or sensitive stomachs.
The primary ingredient in Nutro Wholesome Essentials is whole chicken. This powerhouse meat is closely followed by the addition of chicken meal, a dense and nutrient-rich protein to provide all of the vital amino acids dogs need to develop and maintain strong and healthy muscles.
A food proudly made in the United States, Nutro Wholesome Essentials includes both glucosamine and chondroitin in its formulation to support optimal joint health. In addition to this, all Nutro foods are free from by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients, making them an excellent choice for dogs with sensitivities to these items.
The whole grains added to this high-quality food include such ingredients as oatmeal, brown rice, and barley. The oatmeal, found in its ground form in this diet, is an excellent source of dietary fiber and is also gluten-free, ensuring it is easily digestible.
Though brown rice is a carbohydrate that dogs can easily process and utilize, it is of low value and offers little nutritional value to dogs. Similarly, barley contributes vital dietary fiber; however, its health benefits are minimal. Still both of these grains can assist with maintaining fluid digestive processes, an important component of every diet.
Peas, an ingredient considered to be both a protein and a starch, form a significant part of this Nutro food. While the dietary fiber in this vegetable is beneficial, the protein count in this food can partially be attributed to peas, meaning the amount of meat included in the formulation is significantly less than the overall 22 percent listed on the bag.
Lamb meal has also been included in this Nutro formulation. Though present to a lesser degree than other proteins in this recipe, lamb can be a common allergen for many dogs. This reinforces the concept that for dogs with sensitive skin, stomachs, or sensitivities to foods that this particular Nutro offering is not optimal for them.
Healthy fats can be found in the inclusion of chicken fat. Chicken fat is an excellent source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids also support the energy levels of adult dogs.
Other ingredients worth noting in this recipe include flaxseed, taurine, and selenium yeast. Flaxseed enriches this food with valuable soluble fiber to promote healthy digestion. It is also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed is a protein, and thus as with peas, also brings the total amount of meat included in this recipe into question.
Since many dogs, particularly large breeds, can be prone to heart issues and traditional dry kibbles can be lacking in this nutrient, taurine has been supplemented in Nutro Wholesome Essentials. The addition of selenium yeast provides dogs with the immune system boost they need to keep potent diseases such as cancer at bay.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials has also included chelated minerals in their formulation. Chelated minerals are vitamins and nutrients that adhere to proteins for ease of absorption, thus ensuring dogs get the maximum benefits from them.
There are two key negatives to consider in this Nutro food offering. It does not include a probiotic, something that is recommended by canine nutritionists to support the development of healthy gut flora. The second drawback to Nutro Wholesome Essentials is its focus on beet pulp, a controversial ingredient believed to function as an inexpensive filler food with limited nutritional value for dogs. Other veterinary professionals maintain that beet pulp may play a role in stabilizing blood sugar and promoting strong intestinal health through its rich dietary fiber.
Blue Buffalo Ingredients
Blue Buffalo Wilderness differs from Nutro Wholesome Essentials in one very important way: its recipe is entirely free from grains. This one factor makes it well worth considering for dogs that suffer from sensitivities to these types of ingredients.
This particular Blue Buffalo food is greatly praised for its heavy emphasis on proteins, ensuring the diet is rich in amino acids to support the adult dog’s health and development. Like Nutro Wholesome Essentials, this food takes its protein from whole chicken and chicken meal, an excellent quality source that is rich in nutrients.
Another characteristic Blue Buffalo shares in common with Nutro is each of its recipes, including this one, are free from common allergens and low quality ingredients such as by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. To support excellent joint health, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have been enriched.
A proprietary element to all Blue Buffalo foods is the inclusion of LifeSource Bits, a powerful blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to promote healthy immunity.
Though Blue Buffalo earns top marks for its protein-rich formula; unfortunately, it includes three pea-based ingredients which significantly impact the amount protein that is actually derived from meat, shifting the balance of this food. Blue Buffalo lists pea protein, pea fiber, and pea starch as playing a large role in the overall food formulation, ingredients that are high in dietary fiber but that offer little nutritional value.
Tapioca starch has also been included in this diet, earning a place as the fifth ingredient in the food. Tapioca starch is derived from the cassava root and acts as a binder. Its health benefits are questionable though it is a gluten-free product.
Several other ingredients are worthy of further study including tomato pomace, flaxseed, chicken fat, chicory root, dried yeast, alfalfa meal, and chelated minerals. Tomato pomace is the subject of controversy with some nutritionists believing it is a low quality filler while others maintain its high fiber content and dense nutritional profile makes it beneficial to dogs.
Flaxseed contributes vital soluble fiber to support good digestion. It is also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids to promote joint health. It is, however, high in protein, another ingredient which lessens the percentage of meat found within the overall diet.
Chicken fat contributes both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as linoleic acid. These powerhouse nutrients encourage good skin and coat quality and also provide dogs with the energy they need to remain active and well.
The addition of chicory root ensures additional soluble fiber. But chicory root is far more than simply an effective digestive aid. It is also a powerful prebiotic that supports the development of healthy gut flora.
Chelated minerals, minerals attached to protein strands for easy absorption, have been included to ensure dogs receive all of the daily nutrients they require for wellness. Alfalfa meal, a high fiber ingredient, boosts the natural vitamin and mineral content of the food organically.
Dried yeast, an ingredient that seems out of place in a dog food, is believed to help repel fleas naturally while also encouraging the development of a strong and healthy immune system.
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When considering nutritional value, it is easy to see that both of these foods have the potential to help adult dogs maintain excellent health. Nutro Wholesome Essentials contains 22 percent protein, 14 percent fat, and 3.5 percent fiber to Blue Buffalo’s 34 percent protein, 15 percent fat, and 6 percent dietary fiber. While both foods are well balanced, the fact that both diets do derive some of their protein from plant-based sources does significantly impact the overall amounts of meat found in these foods.
Plant-based proteins can be difficult for dogs to digest. In addition to this, many of them are common allergens for dogs. Since both foods do include peas, it is important to note the negative effects this starchy vegetable can have on fertility, meaning these foods may not be optimal for breeding dogs.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials is lower calorie at only 339 calories per cup. This makes this diet a very good choice for dogs in need of losing some weight or who are in their senior years.
By comparison, Blue Buffalo’s higher protein recipe rings in at 409 calories per one cup serving size. This food is not recommended for dogs that are sedentary or overweight, being best suited to dogs with moderate to high activity levels. Its high caloric count does mean the food will stretch farther, thus maximizing each family’s dog food dollar.
Both diets are an excellent choice for adult dogs. However, the specific needs of each dog will determine which food is the better nutritional fit.
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